11 June 2014 International SSF guidelines adopted at historic meeting in Rome

In a historic move, the Committee on Fisheries (COFI) of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) at the United Nations on Tuesday adopted a set of guidelines for securing sustainable small-scale fisheries.

The Guidelines were developed collaboratively by governments and civil society groups from all over the world. “This is a momentous leap forward in the struggle for protection and the development of the small-scale fishing sector worldwide,” said Naseegh Jaffer, who attended the gathering. “It is a development that cannot be underestimated,” he added.

In a declaration presented on behalf of the World Forum of Fisher People, World Forum of Fish Harvesters and Fish Workers, International Collective in Support of Fishworkers and the International Planning Committee for Food Sovereignty, a committee member said, “Where poverty exists in small-scale fishing communities, it is of a multidimensional nature and is not only caused by low incomes but also due to factors that impede full enjoyment of human rights including civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. Poverty, and the denial of human rights undermines sustainability. The full realization of the human rights of fishing communities, as envisaged by these Guidelines, will lead to sustainable utilization, prudent and responsible management and conservation of fishery resources, consistent with the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries.”

The guidelines are the first international instruments that deal specifically with the small-scale fisheries sector all through the value chain. In South Africa, Coastal Links South Africa (CLSA) and Masifundise (MDT) contributed significantly to the formulation of these guidelines.

To see the provisional agenda of this session click here: http://www.fao.org/cofi/31698-0310958b858257227c642f4ede71be8bb.pdf To read the declaration click here: http://wp.me/p29R58-fF To access some of the COFI documents click here: http://www.fao.org/cofi/64143/en/ Click here to read the guidelines: https://www.masifundise.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/ChairText.pdf

Petition from the International Collective in Support of Fish workers (ICSF) over missing Malaysian Flight MH370

The International Collective in Support of Fish workers (ICSF), whose executive secretary was aboard the missing Malaysian Flight MH370, has issued a petition demanding that authorities provide answers to many key questions. Chandrika Sharma was one of 239 passengers aboard the ill-fated flight which left Malaysia on 8 March 2014.

As part of the petition ICSF Coordinator Jackie Sunde states: “We would like to call on you and your organisations to join ICSF in communicating, in the strongest terms, a range of concerns to the appropriate national and international authorities, and to demand that the Malaysian and Indian authorities, with the full co-operation of the telecommunications company Inmarsat, collate the available data and provide the families and public at large with a transparent, accessible and up to date account of what happened to this flight.”

The mysterious disappearance of the plane remains unsolved. In the circumstances, Chandrika’s family, friends and comrades – especially her husband KS Narendran and her daughter Meghna – are unable to find closure. Chandrika worked tirelessly for the rights of fishing communities worldwide, over a period of 15 years. Go to the links below for the content of the petition.

Click here to sign the petition: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/tragic-disappearance-of-malaysian-airlines-mh370

And here: http://www.change.org/en-IN/petitions/prime-minister-of-india-president-of-india-tragic-disappearance-of-mh370?utm_source=guides&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=petition_created

Court bid could delay fishing rights

The decision by the South African Commercial Linefish Association to take DAFF to court over long term fishing rights could delay the implementation of the SSF policy. Furthermore, it could lead to the allocation meant for the small-scale fishing sector being significantly reduced. The Minister of Fisheries last month scrapped the allocation process, but the Linefish Association is still continuing with its court bid.

In April, Masifundise sought to become an intervening party in the court case with the purpose of preventing a delay in the policy implementation and fishing allocation processes. LRC attorney Wilmien Wicomb made the application on behalf of MDT, and this application will be heard on the 12 of June 2014. Currently the court has opposed the Masifundise application and the Linefish Association objected it. The Linefish Association does not believe that Masifundise represents small-scale fishers or that small-scale fishers exist as a sector. The Linefish Association is pursuing a settlement that will involve the re- dispensation of rights to all current and previous right holders.

This would then mean that small-scale fishers have less catches, as most rights will be given to those who fish recreationally and commercially. The Small-Scale fisheries policy gives legal recognition to fishers in this sector for the first time, provides for specific fishing zones for the sector and allows for collective rights rather than the destructive individual quotas of the past.

“MDT and CLSA support any process that leads to a just and equitable allocation of fishing rights. We will oppose any process that will delay the implementation of the small-scale fisheries policy which enjoys wide support and will introduce a new chapter for the sector,” said Masifundise’s Mandla Gqamlana.

“We will also oppose any (court) action that will lead to small-scale fisher being robbed of receiving what is due to them,” he added. Click here to read MDT and CLSA thoughts on the policy, MLRA, interim relief and the allocation process: https://www.masifundise.org/category/small-scale-fishing/

Port Nolloth fishers take to the sea with new boats

Small-scale fishers in Port Nolloth are making use of the eleven new boats they received from the government. The boats were handed over by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) last week.

The number of boats available for the use of 104 local fishers has now more than doubled from 10 to 21. The new boats are 8.9 metres long and can carry 12 people. Mr Steenkamp, a Coastal Links South Africa member from Port Nolloth welcomed the government’s intervention and said that the handing over ceremony went off well.

He pointed out though that not sufficient local fishers had skippers’ licences and that this was a challenge that needed to be met through training courses. He added that training was also required for young people so that they could participate meaningfully in the fishing industry. “We also need training that helps us with survival skills when we get into difficulties at sea or when someone gets sick or is injured,” said Mr Steenkamp.

DAFF and DTI have handed over boats to many fishing communities as part of efforts to support local economic development.

Port Nolloth is a fishing community for the crayfishing industry (or rock lobster), and for small-scale diamond recovery.

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